April 2022 Federal Employment Law Training Group Newsletter

Anticipating Return-to-the-Workplace Challenges

We tried in 2020 and again in 2021, but COVID-19 had other plans. Now in 2022,  agency employees who have been teleworking for more than two years are finally returning to the physical workplace to join their colleagues who, because of the nature of their jobs, have been reporting in person throughout the pandemic.

COVID-19 has changed the way we socialize, from how much space we give strangers on the sidewalk to the language we use when we interact with coworkers. There are bound to be conflicts and challenges as people return to the physical workplace and come in close contact with others, after two years of isolation. Plus, President Biden’s vaccine requirement for Feds was just reinstated – and there are multiple considerations to make in disciplining unvaccinated employees. We’ve put together a three-part webinar series Navigating the Return to the Post-pandemic Federal Workplace on May 4, 11 and 18. We’ll tackle COVID-related harassment and reprisal, what to do with telework as a reasonable accommodation request, how to handle employees who refuse to be vaccinated or fail to report back in person, and more.

This month’s newsletter covers new MPSB case takeaways, union participation in meetings, COVID-related leave and harassment, and much more.

Take care,


Deborah J. Hopkins, FELTG President

Three Lessons Learned from the New MSPB’s Decisions

By Deborah Hopkins, April 11, 2022 My morning routine has changed significantly in the last few weeks. Now, along with my coffee, instead of reading the news, I’ve been eagerly checking the MSPB website for new cases (a decision on a PFR is officially called Opinion...

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What Types of Leave Count in an Excessive Absence Case?

By Barbara Haga, April 11, 2022 Excessive absence seems so basic we shouldn’t need to address it anymore. However, questions do still arise about what works and what doesn’t. Occasionally, someone asks a question about something new, as happened recently when a FELTG...

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COVID-related Harassment Should NOT Outlast the Pandemic

By Deborah Hopkins, April 11, 2022 Last fall, in the first filing of its kind, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against a private sector company for COVID-related harassment. According to EEOC’s press release, “the pharmacy discriminated against a pharmacy technician with...

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OPM Offers Roadmap for Your DEIA Plan

By Michael Rhoads, April 11, 2022 OPM has released its Strategic Plan for FYs 2022-2026. To put this report together, OPM did its homework. The OPM Strategic Plan for 2022-2026 represents 132 reports and studies reviewed, interviewing 30 internal stakeholders and 58...

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